The play's the thing

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Chat Ratna Pathak Shah talks about her long association with theatre

Having performed and stayed with a home production — Ismat Apa Ke Naam , for almost 11 years with 350 shows across the country and abroad, actor Ratna Pathak Shah says she has evolved with the play and vice versa. Ratna says each time she goes on stage for Ismat Apa …she feels she is doing something new.

“It gives us actors a chance to improve. The more we perform, the better the show gets. As actors we might think we have given our best shot for our first performance but the notion changes as we keep repeating the show. Personally my own understanding of the character has improved, I feel I am being able to sketch the emotions and feeling better,” says Ratna who was also recently seen in the Kareena-Imran starrer “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.”

What about their daughter Heeba's performance? “Oh, she is a good actor. Her performance came as a surprise when she first went on stage with the production. I feel Heeba too has developed with every show and has contributed to a great extent to the development of the play. The play Ismat Apa Ke Naam is based on stories by Urdu writer and feminist Ismat Chugtai. Does Ratna believe in celebrating women's day? “I don't see anything wrong and I don't like the idea of taking an easy cynical stand. I hate the idea of trivialising the issue with questions like why isn't there a man's day? I am happy that at least one day everyone is sitting up and paying attention to the many issues women have. Honestly speaking, issues about women are as important as issues about men, health and education. While we say it's time women received their due, let's not forget that men too need to get their due,” she feels. Ratna considers her long association with different plays she acts in as a blessing and a truly remarkable event of her life. She says, “The relation is such that both feed each other.” When asked which character she enjoys playing the most, the actor says, “Every role has something new . Comedy is very challenging,” Given a choice between theatre and movie what would it be? Ratna says “Theatre is important as it builds a close relation with the character. It opens our minds and as a theatre artist we need to engage our audience and meet their expectations. Movies on the other hand are totally different as it gives you chances for retakes.”





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